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In fact, in today's digital age, can career counseling/guidance remain immune to societal digitalization?

Career services have changed over time to adapt to societal changes. If we look chronologically at the services that were once offered and are offered by career counseling now, it is clear that they have gone through a process of evolution adapting to the demand of the labor market. They started as professional guidance in the early 1900s, as a service that helped emigrants get involved in the labor market in America at that time. It developed into a service that places greater emphasis on counseling, career planning, and job search preparation. There follows a period of developing awareness and self-initiative to invest in one's own career development and soft skills to adapt to global changes.

Career counseling/guidance has undergone significant changes in the 21st century due to several factors:

  • the continuous emergence of modern digital technologies;
  • emergence of new careers/job positions;
  • rapid changes in the labor market;
  • globalization;
  • increased mobility;
  • the rise of lifelong learning;
  • increased amount of available information, etc.

The impact of digital technology on career development services has played a striking role in the evolutionary process. Opportunities for professional networking opened new horizons and rapid exchange of experiences. The significantly easier access to information offered open opportunities for experiential learning through internships, mobilities, employment, and networking with employers. And this is only part of the wide range of possibilities that technology gives easy access to customers.

And it becomes clear that career counseling, as a process that evolves adapting to global changes, inevitably accepts and fits into social digitalization.

The use of digital technology to deliver career development services

Career counseling today focuses on opportunities to develop or change a person's career path. The counseling process generally analyzes an individual's characteristics, interests, skill sets, work values ​​, and experience. Specific sets of tools are used to help the individuals get to know and understand themselves and the work environment to help them make career and/or educational decisions. The process will provide them with knowledge and skills that will make it easier for them to make career and life decisions in the future. Career counseling can be appropriate for all individuals who are the process of some kind of transition, regardless of their age. It can be offered on an individual basis or as group counseling.

All this also applies to online career counseling/guidance as it enables the delivery of all these mentioned services. The use of digital technology to deliver career counseling certainly has its potential advantages as well as disadvantages.

The time of pandemic opened the way for online career counseling to enter the career development sector in our country, North Macedonia. Faced with the challenges of the new era and guided by global changes, career counselors in our country have accepted digitization in this sector as really necessary and inevitable. The traditional way, face-to-face communication in a properly designed space, very quickly began to be replaced by online career counseling/guidance. Investing in building our own digital skills, as career counselors, we adapted to the needs and demands of  the clients. And that was a time of great challenges.

  • How to identify the most secure platform?
  • How to ensure data security and trust with customers?
  • There are hundreds of online self-assessment tests. Still, they have not been officially evaluated for their validity and reliability, and most of the time they are not in the Macedonian language.

In most cases, we solved such challenges by using the only standardized digital tool that can be used in the Macedonian language, which is the BIPO (Battery of instruments for professional orientation). These instruments are intended for people over 16 years old and can be used by career counselors from schools and employment centers in the process of counseling high school students, i.e. young unemployed persons. Access to the instrument is enabled with the password of the career counselor who has undergone specific training in using, interpreting and delivering results from it. The battery is a combination of three different questionnaires or assessment scales:

  1. Questionnaire on professional interests
  2. Work values questionnaire
  3. Type-indicator personality test

It was developed by a team of Macedonian experts from the Institute of Psychology and approved for use in 2015 by theMinistry of Education and Science.

Students' access to the online questionnaires is enabled by a password generated by a career advisor. After filling out, the results are received by the career counselor who interprets them and prepares them for presentation to the student in the most appropriate form - a discussion about the possible choices.

The results themselves represent a range of possible professions that would be possible choices for the student, according to his interests, values, and personality type.

My several years of experience using BIPO as a digital tool shows really positive effects and significantly facilitates the process of selection and decision-making, which is certainly not based solely on the result of this tool. It is well met with the students who are eager to fill it out. 

It must be emphasized that online career counseling in North Macedonia is still in the development phase and faces a greater number of challenges. To build a system that will work well and meet the needs of all stakeholders in this process, joint engagement is required. Going forward, we need to work on providing a secure digital space that will improve access to career information, services, and support for a wide range of citizens. On the other hand, it will complement the portfolio of services that will be significant support for all career counselors who are ready to introduce modern methodology in the sector of career development in our country.

Digitalization calls for a digital transformation in career counselingguidance
  • Author / Originator: Maria Kovacheska - Euroguidance Ambassador - North Macedonia
  • Country of origin North Macedonia
  • Resource launch date August 22, 2022
  • Main focus Career Development
  • Modality Remote
  • Context Schools, Employment (PES),
  • Type
  • Target group Career Guidance Practitioners, Secondary School Students, VET Students, Jobseekers
  • This practice developed through Erasmus+ No